Sunday, October 15, Sherry and I were blessed to worship with Rev. Kory and Becky Christensen at New Haven Impact Church. Impact Church is the most recent church plant in our Fort Wayne Zone and it’s encouraging to see the many ways this young congregation is partnering to impact their community. After a brief standup meeting with the LBA, Becky and Kory joined us for lunch. Becky plays a key role in the community through her leadership as assistant principal at the high school. Please keep this young church in your prayers!
Last Monday, I met with Rev. Les Crossfield (Greater Ohio District Superintendent) for lunch in Richmond. It’s been a joy getting to know Les better and I appreciate his passion to see every church on mission. I’d also like to take a few lessons from this scratch golfer!
I met with Pastor Barry & Joyce Dixon in Indianapolis to learn more about their dreams and the challenges in leading in the urban context. They have a great heart for God and a deep love for people that motivates their ministry at Calvary Family Church.
Dr. Bob Whitesel graciously invited me to be a guest lecturer in his seminary class held at IWU’s Keystone Campus on the north side of Indianapolis on Monday evening. It was a privilege to share with this diverse group of students that included some of our own district pastors.
Tuesday morning, I hit the road for South Bend for my first coaching conversation of the day with Pastor Steve Runyon (Beaver Creek Wesleyan). My next stop was with Pastor Bill Dixon at Davis Chapel and then on to Marion to meet with Pastor Gary Bingham at Hillside Wesleyan. I value these opportunities to learn how our district can better partner with our pastors and churches as they seek to win their communities for Christ.
Tuesday evening, I dropped in at IWU where Pastor Marc Ulrich’s team from ReThink Church were hosting a pizza party and information session for students who were interested in learning more about church planting. Special thanks goes to Rev. Rick Carder for his thoughtful hospitality to our alumni and pastors when they visit campus.
Wednesday began with a DBMD meeting at College Wesleyan Church led by Dr. David Smith. It was a special delight to be there for Rev. Terry Vaughn’s interview as an ordained minister in process of transfer. Terry and Lennaire are stepping up to launch The Bridge Urban Church in South Bend.
I joined Scott Rhyno, Chief Generosity Officer for The Wesleyan Church, for lunch in Fishers as we look at hosting a fundraising golf tournament here in the Crossroads District next year as part of the THRIVE initiative.
Jon Wiest met in the afternoon regarding a disciple-making conference in partnership with Trinity Wesleyan Church to be held next fall. Mark your calendars for October 1-2 and plan to join us. Then, Rev. Ervin Webster (IWU alumnus) and I met regarding next steps toward organizing and welcoming St. Stephen’s Church as a new Wesleyan congregation.
I was invited to pray and share the evening meal at New Pastors’ Orientation where 4 of our most recently appointed pastors from the Crossroads District enjoyed two days interacting with Dr. Wayne Schmidt and his team at headquarters along with new pastors from several other districts.
Thursday was our fall meeting of the District Board of Administration. We have representatives from historic churches and new congregations, some with attendance of more than 1,000 and others with attendance of less than 100. There was robust discussion about the best ways to accomplish our mission of making disciples and multiplying congregations here in Indiana. It really is a delight to serve with these team members!
I had the unique privilege of being interviewed by Dr. Aaron Perry at Wesley Seminary on Friday afternoon for the new podcast they’re producing. If you’ve not yet met Dr. Perry, you’ll enjoy getting to know him and he’s always willing to bring seminars or offer pulpit supply to our churches.
Saturday morning, I joined with Rev. Paul James, Chris Williams and Seth Bye at the Maximizing Impact consultation at Elwood Central Wesleyan Church. Pastor Ben and Amanda Capshaw are doing a great job leading this turnaround congregation. It was exciting to see their team dreaming of new ways to increase their effectiveness in making disciples.
Calling all Retired Pastors and Spouses! “Cupcakes and Coffee Fellowship” will be held on Friday, October 27. These are not required but are informal opportunities to connect and catch up on life around the Crossroads District. For your convenience, we are offering two opportunities to connect:
10 am at Noblesville Lakeview Wesleyan (396 Park Street, Noblesville, IN 46060)
2 pm at Eastview Wesleyan Church (414 North 10th Street, Gas City, IN 46933)
Our condolences and prayers go out to Rev. Dr. Rich Schenck and the other family members who are grieving the loss of Rev. T. Eugene Schenck, Rich’s father and a beloved pastor who served in The Wesleyan Church for several decades. There will be memorial services in North Carolina today (Monday) and back in Indiana at the former Eastlawn Wesleyan Church facility (3400 N Post Road) on Thursday, 11 a.m. with calling hours from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service.
Just a reminder that October is designated in The Wesleyan Church as Pastor Appreciation Month. If your church has not already done so, there’s still time to take this opportunity to let your pastor and spouse know how much you appreciate their investment in your congregation and your own life. For creative ideas, check out this list:
Exponential Midwest Regional Conference, November 7-8
Breakaway Conference for Ministry Spouses
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Sunday, October 8, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Rick and Mary Matthews at Southview Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis. The congregation honored the staff for Pastor Appreciation Month and Pastor Rick brought an encouraging message on how to win the “Believer’s Greatest Battle” by overcoming doubt with enduring faith.
The primary purpose of my visit was to meet with the Shalom Christian Church, the Chin (Myanmar/formerly Burma) congregation that Southview graciously hosts. Last summer, the leadership team at Shalom Church voted to pursue full membership in the Crossroads District. Some of you will remember their choir that ministered to us at District Conference.
After preaching in their afternoon service, Pastor Benjamin Tlungloei and I held a congregational meeting to provide membership and organizational information for more than 30 prospective members. It has been a delight to get to know Pastor Benjamin and these wonderful believers who have endured so much. The picture below is Pastor Benjamin with his youngest of four children.
The final service of the day was at The River in Marion where Pastor Matthew Trexler and his team were celebrating the 10th anniversary of this ministry. From a vision in Matthew and Nicole’s heart to their living room, to a fitness center, and finally settling in at Lincoln Elementary, the story of The River is a continuing adventure of bold faith and compassionate service.
The River has reached out to Mongolia and Albania and serve thousands of people in Marion every Christmas in “The Big Give.” It was exciting to hear the future focus of expanding their facility to serve more people in this location and the first public announcement of their plan to launch a campus in Peru (Indiana) next fall. In addition to leading The River, I’m grateful for Pastor Matthew’s willingness to serve as our Assistant District Superintendent for Region 1.
Last week began at The River on Monday morning as nearly 70 pastors and staff members gathered for our Region 1 fall meeting. It was a special blessing to have Dr. David Smith, IWU professor, lead us through a study of John 13 and then administer communion. David is such a gifted communicator and encourager. We are blessed to have him right here at IWU and I know your congregation would be enriched by his ministry.
Monday afternoon, I participated in Professor Mark Wilson’s class at Southern Wesleyan University through the wonders of technology. His pastoral ministries students are using “Lead Like Wesley” as one of their textbooks and we had an engaging conversation about lessons from John Wesley’s leadership.
Monday evening, I was in New Castle to connect with Pastor Steve Arnett and his family at the funeral home visitation. Our prayers and sympathy are extended to the Arnett family as they grieve their loss of Mrs. Phyllis Arnett, beloved mother and grandmother.
Tuesday morning, I met with Dr. Colleen Derr, our new president at Wesley Seminary, and learned more about the new direction she’s taking the seminary. So many of our pastors have already been blessed by the exceptional education and affordable tuition that Wesley Seminary offers. If you’ve been thinking about graduate studies in ministry, Wesley Seminary should be your first consideration.
Tuesday afternoon, Assistant District Superintendent Rev. Mike Colaw welcomed nearly 40 pastors and staff to Trinity Wesleyan Church (Allisonville Road campus) for the Region 2 fall gathering. Josh Lavender led our time of worship and Pastor Mike Hewitt shared updates from the church planting project in Muncie.
Region 3, led by Assistant DS Chris Williams, met in Rochester at The Cross on Wednesday afternoon. It was encouraging to hear how God is working in the northwest region of our district with reports from our established churches and the new projects in Merrillville and South Bend.
Thursday and Friday, I represented our district at the fall meeting of the Board of Trustees at Indiana Wesleyan University. These are good days at IWU with one of the strongest incoming classes in recent history. We did have sneak peak behind the scenes as the new football stadium moves toward completion.
There were wonderful reports of God at work on campus through AWAKEN and we heard a powerful testimony from one of the new football recruits. Dr. David Wright is doing an amazing job as our president and counts on our prayers for wisdom as he leads the team at IWU.
Saturday morning, I dropped in on the Region 2 DBMD meeting in Indianapolis. I’m grateful for the many pastors and lay people who serve on the ministerial development teams across our district working with close to 100 candidates moving toward ordination. They take this role seriously, investing prayer and concern for each student.
I was delighted to receive the report from Beech Grove Wesleyan Church were Pastor Bill Carpenter baptized 5 new believers yesterday. Pastor Bill and Mary have faithfully served the Beech Grove congregation for many years and are now looking forward to retirement. The congregation has reached out to Noblesville Lakeview Wesleyan Church and a ministry partnership is developing that will enable Pastor Bill to conclude his service knowing that the church is in good hands.
Pastor Richard and Debbie Cole were honored last evening at Daybreak Church in Lapel as they transition to retirement. The Cole’s have served at Daybreak since launching the church 20 years ago. Family and friends gathered to pay tribute and express appreciation for the many years of faithful and effective ministry. Daybreak voted yesterday morning to call Dr. Joe Harmon as their new senior pastor and we’re excited to welcome Dr. Joe back to the Crossroads District team!
Level 13 Church in Fort Wayne concluded their pastoral search yesterday calling Rev. Heath Croft as their new leader. Heath and his family will be moving from Montgomery, Alabama where he’s been serving on staff at Mulder United Methodist Church. We’re looking forward to welcoming Heath and his family to Indiana and the Crossroads District!
Please remember Mr. Ed Hoover, our dear brother in Christ, in your prayers as he wrestles with continuing health concerns. Rev. Lloyd Moore continues to await a liver transplant and needs your prayers.
Just a reminder that our Crossroads District Youth Leaders (all paid and volunteer staff) will be meeting on Wednesday, October 11, at Buffalo Wild Wings in Marion (11:30 – 1:30). You can find more information on the “Crossroads District Youth Leaders” FaceBook page.
Our fall meeting of the District Board of Administration will be held this Thursday, 1 p.m., at Abbey Coffee in Marion. Your prayers are appreciated!
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Sunday, October 1, Sherry and I worshiped at Back Creek Wesleyan Church (just south of Fairmount on Hwy 9) with Rev. Ben and Helen Parker. Back Creek, another of our historic churches, has been meeting in this current location and building since 1904.
Pastor Ben and his team create a warm family atmosphere in this multigenerational congregation. It was good to be with them as the Board honored both Ben and Helen for Pastor Appreciation Month. They’re excited about their upcoming revival services with Dr. Joe Harmon, Ben and Helen’s former pastor and mentor at Eastview Wesleyan in Gas City. Services will be held from Thursday, October 19 (7 p.m.) through Sunday morning.
Sherry and I had the privilege of ministering in Mozambique last week through an invitation from the faculty of Xai Xai Bible College. The Crossroads District has a deeply rooted partnership with Wesleyan Global Partners and it was encouraging to see how God is moving in this new field.
On Saturday, I was invited to address the National Board on the topic of leadership and multiplication. On Sunday, I brought the commencement address for this year’s graduating class at Xai Xai on Sunday. Then, on Monday, I led the “Lead Like Wesley” seminar for 90 national church leaders. It was a new experience preaching and teaching through double translation but such an incredible and humbling experience to serve these leaders who are doing such amazing work in difficult circumstances.
While at Xai Xai, it was good to connect with Lenville Gross, vice chair from our New Castle Memorial Wesleyan Church, who was honored for his ongoing support of the college, including significant help in the actual construction of the college facilites. Lenville’s daughter Rachel lives in Mozambique and teaches at the college.
I was back on the road here in the district on Friday for a morning meeting in Marion with Pastor Matthew Trexler, our Assistant DS for Region 1. Pastor Matthew was encouraged by the positive response to their new Sunday evening service (identical to their two morning services) with 160 in attendance. On Friday afternoon, I was in Fishers to meet Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent.
Saturday morning, I dropped in on the Elevate seminar that College Wesleyan Church offers to deepen the engagement of their young adults (college and careers). Dr. Steve DeNeff shared a compelling presentation on the difference the local church can make in the world. If you’d like to learn more about this initiative, Ethan Linder is the point person for that ministry and this monthly gathering.
Pastor Marc and Heather Ulrich value your prayers as they continue to lead the church planting project in Merrillville. They welcomed 52 for worship this past Saturday evening, 14 of whom are children. One of the ways you can help is if you have unchurched friends or relatives in the Merrillville area and you’d be willing to pass on their information to Pastor Marc via FaceBook messenger.
Your prayers are also requested for Pastor Brad LeRoy (Harvest Church) and Pastor Michael Hewitt (Muncie church plant), both recovering from recent surgeries, and for Rev. Lloyd Moore who continues to battle health complications as he waits for a liver transplant.
I’m looking forward to connecting with our pastoral team this week in the three regional meetings we are hosting. Region 1 (I-69 corridor) is led by Pastor Matthew Trexler and meets on Monday morning (9:00) at The River in Marion, Region 2 (greater Indy) is led by Pastor Mike Colaw and meets on Tuesday afternoon (1:30) at Trinity Wesleyan on Allisonville Road in Fishers, and Region 3 (I-65 corridor) is led by Rev. Chris Williams and will meet at The Cross in Rochester on Wednesday afternoon (1:30).
Just a reminder for youth workers about the gathering of our Crossroads District Youth Leaders on Wednesday, October 11, at Buffalo Wild Wings in Marion (11:30 – 1:30). You can find more information on the “Crossroads District Youth Leaders” FaceBook page.
It’s a joy to serve with you in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Maximizing Impact Is In Full Swing
The Maximizing Impact Team, led by Paul James, held the first consultation weekend of the fiscal year at Etna Avenue Wesleyan Church in Huntington.
The weekend kicked off on Friday, September 15. The team interviewed Pastor Tom Bradley and a dozen leaders from the church. That evening, a focus group of 11 individuals shared their perspective on their church. The interviews and focus group, along with the substantial self-study report the church submitted to the team, form the basis for the consultation report.
Saturday was a day of training in key principles for church health and missional ministry. Over 20 leaders attended this training, and as is often the case, God’s Spirit moved in a powerful way during that time. All those present were challenged and inspired to give themselves fully to the work of making more and better disciples.
The weekend concluded on Sunday with the morning worship service and the reading of the consultation report. The church is now in a time of prayerful consideration. On October 1, the church will have a town hall meeting to discuss the report, and on October 15 the congregation will vote to determine whether or not to proceed with the prescriptions offered in the report.
The Maximizing Impact Team is busy this fall with consultation weekends scheduled for Frankfort First (September 29-October 1), Elwood Central (October 13-15), and Jonesboro Main Street (October 27-29). Lift these congregations in prayer as they engage this process to move their church to the next level of health and missional effectiveness.
If your church is interested in scheduling a Maximizing Impact Weekend, we only have two weekends left for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Contact Chris Williams to learn more about the process and to reserve one of the remaining dates.
Maximizing Impact Huddle
This past week we launched the Maximizing Impact Huddle. This is a gathering for lead pastors of churches that have hosted a Maximizing Impact Weekend. The huddle will meet a few times each year for a time of fellowship, training, and encouragement.
On Wednesday, September 20, we hosted our first huddle at Eastview Wesleyan Church in Gas City. The group shared ministry updates and spent time resourcing each other with ideas and best practices for attracting new guests to church and developing their connection ministries. We also spent time discussing the implementation of the Accountable Leadership Model as a way to align the organizational structure and ministry programming with the mission of the church.
We were privileged to have Rev. Rick Kavanaugh from the Trinity Wesleyan Church in Greenville, Ohio and Rev. Rick Deisler from Whiteford Wesleyan Church in Ottawa Lake, Michigan join us for this event. Both of these pastors have gone through the Maximizing Impact consultation in their respective districts. We welcomed their insights and learnings from the process. Rev. Paul James, our lead consultant for Maximizing Impact, also made arrangements to be with us for the day.
Upcoming Regional Gatherings
The Fall Regional Gatherings for pastors and staff of Crossroads District Churches are coming up next week! This is a great opportunity for networking, story-sharing, vision casting, and prayer. At each gathering, those in attendance will receive a free resource created by Tony Morgan from The Unstuck Group. Each person in attendance will also be entered in a drawing to win a free ticket for the 2018 Global Leadership Summit.
If you are a pastor or staff member at a church in the Crossroads District, join us at one of the Regional Gatherings.
Region 1 Fall Gathering
Monday, October 2, 9:00 - 11:30 am
The River Community Church
759 S. Lenfesty Avenue
Marion, IN 46953
Region 2 Fall Gathering
Tuesday, October 3, 1:30 - 3:00 pm
Trinity Church | NE Indy
9709 Allisonville Road
Indianapolis, IN 46250
Region 3 Fall Gathering
Wednesday, October 4, 1:30 - 3:00 pm
100 West 3rd Street
Rochester, IN 46975
Join over 50 other Crossroads District pastors and leaders at the Regional Exponential Conference in Chicago on November 7th and 8th. This conference will be an incredible opportunity to connect with other pastors, be inspired in the areas of disciple making and church planting, and enjoy a great time of fellowship. Registration is normally $129 per ticket but through a district grant, is now offered for ONLY $30!
The Crossroads District group is planning to have lunch on site after the conference on Wednesday (included in registration) to debrief and hear a brief word from Dave and John Ferguson, the founders of Exponential!
CLICK HERE to register today. Please note: This offer closes on October 17th.
To reserve your hotel room CLICK HERE. Make sure you use our group code: G-CRDI
Thank You for Your Hurricane Relief Efforts
Thank you to all of our Crossroads District churches who partnered with World Hope by bringing supplies to World Gospel Mission earlier in September! 10 pallets of supplies are on their way to Port Arthur, Texas to provide assistance in the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
Many churches across the district rallied their congregations to support the relief efforts in a variety of ways. Thank you for your sensitivity and responsiveness to be the body of Christ in the midst of tragedy and crisis!
This weekend marked significant milestones in the life of two of our Crossroads District churches. Sunday morning, I was with Pastor Don Bayne and the team at New Carlisle Wesleyan Church as they celebrated their 120th anniversary. This congregation was launched as a result of a revival back in 1897 and relocated to their present location in 2002 under the leadership of Rev. Bayne (pastor since 1995).
Today, the church is effectively ministering to their community (16 professions of faith and 12 baptisms last year) and looking to extend their Kingdom impact to surrounding communities through church planting partnerships in South Bend and a new campus in a nearby community. It was a special joy to see Rev. Richard and Eula Carr who pastored the church from 1955-1965.
Harvest Church in McCordsville celebrated their 10th Anniversary this weekend. Pastor Brad & Heidi LeRoy stepped out in faith with a committed team to reach this growing community on the northeast side of Indianapolis. Today, Harvest ministers to more than 300 in their community (36 professions and 22 baptisms last year) with a heart for the world. They threw an amazing block party on Saturday to mark this special occasion!
Our district office team met on Monday morning and then I jumped on to the Zoom meeting with Dr. Wayne Schmidt and several DS colleagues. The rest of the afternoon was invested with Rev. Chris Williams and Seth Bye in planning for upcoming meetings.
Tuesday included a breakfast meeting with Dr. Jim Vermilya and VP John Jones to explore the potential of a “Church Planter in Residence” partnership at IWU. Coaching conversations on Tuesday included meeting with Rev. Steve Colter (Chapel Pike Wesleyan) and Rev. Steve Fletcher (Nelson Street Wesleyan). Later that day I was able to jump in on a zone DBMD meeting led by Rev. Rick Carder. Tuesday evening, I was with Rev. Ervin Webster and the congregation of St. Stephen’s Church that has been meeting at Warren Park Wesleyan Church. It was encouraging to hear more about their vision and to explore the future possibilities of ministering together.
Wednesday included coaching conversations with Rev. Brad LeRoy (Harvest Church) and Rev. Bill Carpenter (Beech Grove Wesleyan). I met with Dr. Dennis Jackson on Wednesday afternoon for final prep as we head this week to Xai Xai Bible College in Mozambique. Wednesday evening, Sherry and I joined President Dr. David and Helen Wright for the closing rally of Summit, the campus-wide spiritual life emphasis at IWU. Dr. Dwight Robertson shared a passionate call to live with “a heart on fire and a life on purpose.” Dwight is an ordained minister in our Crossroads District who leads FORGE, an equipping ministry raising up laborers for the Harvest. You can find out more about the powerful team at their website: https://forgeforward.org/
We had a great meeting of our ReEquip planning team on Thursday morning. Rev. Amanda Blair is leading the team in designing a district-wide “all hands on deck” training opportunity on April 21. Mark your calendar and plan to join us in Marion.
Coaching conversations on Thursday afternoon included Pastor Johnnie Blair (Tipton Trinity) and Pastor Ben Capshaw (Elwood Central). Both of these ministries are seeing God work in unusual ways. Elwood Central has grown from 25 to 100 in the past few years (in spite of having their building condemned for 2 years) and Tipton Trinity celebrated 65 professions of faith and 28 baptisms last year.
Thursday evening, I drove to Cincinnati for a Friday morning meeting hosted by Greater Ohio DS Les Crossfield. Many of you will be aware that there are ongoing conversations across our denomination about the potential for creating regional partnerships. Dr. Mark Eckart (Indiana South DS), Rev. Aaron Sherman (KY-TN DS) and I joined Rev. Crossfield for a productive exploratory conversation about our shared values and possible ways we might better serve one another in reaching the heartland of America.
Saturday, I had the privilege of joining Dr. Jim Lo’s DBMD team at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church for a positive round of interviews with ministerial students. It was a special joy to pray for Titus Romdehn as he and Jewel prepare to leave for ministry in Cambodia.
Rev. Chris Williams was busy this weekend with Rev. Paul James (lead consultant) and Rev. Mark Atkinson serving the leadership team at Huntington Etna Avenue Wesleyan Church in a Maximizing Impact consultation. We only have two dates left for church consultations in this conference year so please contact our office ASAP if you’d like to welcome a team to help your church increase its Great Commission effectiveness.
Sherry and I welcome your prayers as we travel to Mozambique with Dr. Dennis and Gwen Jackson for ministry at the Bible college and with district leaders. I’ll be back in the district after September 27 but Rev. Chris Williams will keep things moving forward while we’re out of the county.
Thank you again for all you do to advance the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Doug and Cheryl Sharrard and their team at Lancaster Wesleyan Church (south of Huntington). One of the highlights today was Pastor Doug honoring Rev. William Babb, his friend and long-time mentor.
Rev. Babb celebrated his 95th birthday this week! He still drives and also leads the weekly prayer meeting at his church. It was a joy to hear him read Psalm 100 and share words of encouragement. The congregation had a fellowship lunch and birthday cake after the service to mark this special occasion with Rev. Babb. Another highlight of the service was the special offering for hurricane relief with more than $700 donated!
Fairmount Camp hosted the Married Couples Retreat this weekend with Rev. John & Daniel Freed as the keynote speakers. I dropped in on the Saturday morning session and was encouraged by the good attendance and time of worship led by Michael Wood. John and Danielle did a great job teaching on the priority and practices of strengthening and defending your marriage.
Tuesday morning, I met with Pastor John Freed and a team at Waterline Church in Fishers for a future-focused conversation. Tuesday afternoon, I visited with Pastor Mike and Kim Hewitt in Muncie to check on Mike’s recovery from his surgery last week. Mike’s healing well but may have an additional surgery later this month, so he continues to welcome your prayers. Tuesday evening, I met with Rev. Duane Summit (pastor of Fishersburg Wesleyan Church) for our annual coaching conversation.
Wednesday morning, Pastor Dan Van Cise (Marion 8th Street) and I met for our annual coaching conversation. I met with Rev. Mike Colaw, our Region 2 Assistant District Superintendent, for an update on his coaching with pastors. Wednesday afternoon, I connected with Allen Gross, our supply pastor at Cicero Wesleyan Church, for our first coaching conversation.
Wednesday evening, I met with Pastor Dan Ecakart and the LBA at Warren Park Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis. The board has been wrestling with the downturn in attendance and giving as members have moved away from the area.
After prayer and a frank discussion, the LBA voted to recommend to the LCC (Local Church Conference) that Warren Park’s ministry conclude on October 1. The LCC will convene next Sunday to vote on that recommendation. Warren Park also hosts two other congregations, St. Stephens and a Hispanic congregation. Every effort will be made to work with these teams to see their ministry continue in this community.
Thursday morning, I met with Pastor Ken Dykhoff and Rev. Shawnda Dykhoff at Jonesboro Main Street Wesleyan to learn more about the new outreach ministry they’ve created to serve teenagers in the Jonesboro community. The next meeting was in South Bend with Rev. Don Bayne and the pastors of the Region 3 Plymouth Zone who are partnering to launch a new church plant in South Bend. Pastor Terry and Lennaire Vaughn hosted the group at the South Bend Library and shared about disciple-making initiatives they’re leading in preparation for the launch of The Bridge Urban Church.
Thursday evening, I joined with Dr. Paul Garverick and Rev. Steve Nelson as they hosted an IWU Pastors Partnership event at the Indianapolis westside campus. Rev. Neftali Lopez, pastor at Carmel Amistad Iglesia and chaplain at IWU’s Greenwood and Indy West campus, shared the ministry vision and Dr. Garverick shared testimonies of how God has worked in the lives of students in these adult programs.
Friday was a chance to catch up on correspondence before helping Sherry get ready to host our next zone fellowship. Friday evening, Sherry and I were delighted to welcome six couples from the Madison County Zone. These are always precious times of fellowship and prayer and Friday night was no exception. There really is something unique and meaningful about those who share ministry and the fellowship of the cross.
Rev. Jim Bretzinger, retired Crossroads District pastor who last served at our church in Fowler, passed away early Saturday morning. Our sympathy and prayers are extended to Mrs. Debra Bretzinger, Jim’s wife, and their family. Pastoral Joe Park had recently welcomed Jim and Debra as members of Lafayette Evergreen Wesleyan Church and was providing pastoral care to the family along with Pastor Steve Sparks (Monon Wesleyan). Funeral arrangements are yet to be announced but will be forwarded to the team.
Our churches continue to respond to the relief and recovery efforts in Texas and Florida. What a blessing that The Wesleyan Church has our own relief agency partnership with World Hope International that offers relief and aid in the name of Christ. Learn more about how you and your church can be involved:
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
According to this ABC News story, “Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world.” Thank you to all the women and men across the Crossroads District team who “work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, and not for men.” Colossians 3:23 (NIV)
Sunday, September 3, Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Dale and Lori Munsell and the fine folks at Albion Cornerstone Wesleyan Church. I brought the morning message and joined the LBA in installing Rev. Munsell on behalf of our Crossroads District team. Pastor Dale is off to a great start following the long and effective ministry of Rev. George and Tawne Cecil.
Cornerstone also has a Christian academy that has served their community for over 15 years. This year they have more than 60 students enrolled. Pastor Dale took us on a tour of the school facilities and then I led a brief LBA meeting before we shared lunch in the fellowship hall. The most exciting news was that Cornerstone is making disciples with 4 already toward their goal of 25 this conference year!
Monday and Tuesday were office days with a staff meeting in Marion and then catching up with email and phone calls. It’s a joy to work alongside Chris Williams, Roxene Lo, and Seth Bye as we serve the district team.
Wednesday morning, I attended the funeral for Rev. Joe Parks father, Joseph Parks, at the Evergreen Wesleyan Church in Lafayette. Pastor Parks led a beautiful celebration of this life that was well-lived for God. One of the special moments of the service was the choir assembled from friends and family members to honor Brother Park’s request. He’d always loved church choirs and asked if they could have one at his funeral.
I traveled on to Indianapolis for a meeting with Jon Wiest and Dave Bever over lunch to interview a prospective church planting couple as we explore the possibility of partnering with CrossLink Church to plant a new campus in Speedway. Then I finished the day in our Fishers office meeting with Pastor Dan Eckart and leaders from Warren Park Wesleyan Church.
Thursday morning, I was in Westfield to view the property improvements as Pastor Jordan Gardner and the team are preparing for their next outreach weekend. I shared lunch with Jordan and Karen (great home-made chili) and enjoyed hearing about the connections they’re making with unchurch people in their community.
Thursday evening, I met with the LBA at Parkview Wesleyan Church in Chesterfield as they continue their pastoral search process. Rev. Bob Van Cise is an incredible blessing to the congregation during this transition and community ministry continues with 88 people signing information cards during their July 4 outreach. They’re also serving 15-18 teenagers and 20+ children from the community in their midweek ministries.
Friday morning, I was in Hartford City to meet with one of our ministerial students who is answering God’s call later in life and looking toward future ministry possibilities.
On Saturday morning, Rev. Chris Williams led an evangelism/faith-sharing seminar for Bluffton Wesleyan Church. This training event was one of the prescriptions from their Maximizing Impact Consultation. We’re excited for the 8 new churches that have already signed up for the consultations that we’ll be doing this conference year. The local church is God’s plan A for changing the world.
We continued to hear encouraging baptism reports from across the district. Pastor Tom Bradley reports 5 baptisms in 3 weeks at the Huntington Etna Avenue Wesleyan Church and Pastor Alan Downing reports that Frankfort First Wesleyan recently celebrated 5 baptisms and welcomed 4 new adult members along with 6 new student members.
Do continue to pray for and support the relief efforts in Texas. The Wesleyan Church is once again partnering with World Hope International to respond to this crisis. Here’s the link for more information: https://www.worldhope.org/hurricane-harvey
Bryant Wesleyan Church, as announced last month, and Marion Lakeview Wesleyan Church are both hosting the upcoming Beth Moore simulcast. For information about the Bryant location, call Angelyn Van Cise (260-997-6231) and for more information about the Lakeview location, visit their website: http://www.lakeviewwesleyan.org/livingproof/
This Friday evening, September 8, the senior/lead pastors from the Madison County will be gathering at our home from 6 to 9 p.m. Before the conference year is over, Sherry and I look forward to hosting the senior/lead pastors from every zone for a time of food, fellowship, and encouragement so stay tuned for your invitation!
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
Sherry and I worshiped at Larwill Wesleyan Church yesterday morning with Pastor Thomas and Julie Beck. This community church is located just off Hwy 30 between Warsaw and Columbia City. Attendance averages in the 20s and at least half of the congregation are children and teens. Julie and Alyssa, their daughter, led the singing while Nicholas, their son, ran the sound system.
Thomas is one of our denomination’s many bi-vocational pastors who works a full time job in a manufacturing facility doing quality control before taking on sermon preparation and pastoral care. Thomas started at Larwill Wesleyan by just filling in as a supply pastor. Seventeen years later he continues to serve this congregation and community. Bi-vocational pastors like Thomas are unsung heroes who faithfully minister out of the spotlight and keep making a difference for eternity. (The sanctuary, built in 1869, is one of our older buildings still in use.)
After hosting Tom and Julie for lunch, Sherry and I drove to Muncie to drop in on the first launch team development meeting hosted by Pastor Mike and Kim Hewitt. It was good to see some familiar faces from the Northview congregation and some new friends from the community and Ball State University who were interested in learning more about the project. Please let Pastor Mike know ( email@example.com ) if you have contacts in the community that might be open to joining in this launch team. Do remember Mike in your prayers as he undergoes a scheduled surgery this Thursday.
I arrived home from Dad’s wedding on Tuesday night and was back at our HQ office in Fishers on Wednesday morning to meet with Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent and then met with Pastor Jorge Escalante for an update on his work with immigrant services. Wednesday evening, I was at the Grant City Wesleyan Church for their midweek Bible study followed by a meeting with the LBA. It was good to serve Pastor Dan Heylmann and his team as they implement the new discipleship/membership model.
Our staff hosted the district conference planning team on Thursday at the new office in Marion for a debrief and preplanning for next year’s event. Chris Williams does a great job leading this team. Thank you to each one who provided helpful feedback that will helps us make our district gatherings to be as productive and inspirational as possible.
Friday morning, I met with Dr. David Smith who chairs our District Board of Ministerial Development. David is one of those truly unique educators who has both a scholar’s mind and a pastor’s heart. I’m grateful for the profound investment that Dr. Smith makes in shaping future leaders for the church.
Friday evening, Sherry and I joined Rev. Bob and Cindy Burchell at Lake Placid Camp (near Hartford City) for the annual retreat they host for the chaplains who serve students in IWU’s adult and professional studies degree programs, both online and at the extended campus sites. Chaplains gathered from across Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky for this event. It was a privilege to bring the evening message and lead them in communion.
Saturday morning, I joined Pastor John Freed with the leadership team at Waterline Church meeting for a planning retreat in Fishers. Waterline is our home church and Sherry volunteers as their treasurer. John and Danielle Freed are doing a terrific job in leading the charge at Waterline and these are exciting days as God is opening new doors for ministry partnership in their community.
Saturday afternoon, I met with the LBA at Lapel Daybreak Community Church as they move forward in their search to find someone to fill the big shoes of Rev. Richard Cole, their founding pastor. Richard and Debbie are moving toward retirement after 20 years invested in launching Daybreak. The LBA has several resumes to consider and is prayerfully moving forward.
On the pastoral search front, I received the good word from Columbia City New Hope Wesleyan Church that the congregation approved the recommendation of the LBA to call Rev. Shane Wilson as their new senior pastor. Shane served effectively as part of the pastoral staff under Rev. Jason Tash and the congregation’s overwhelming vote was a strong affirmation of Rev. Wilson’s calling to this leadership role. Join us in welcoming Shane and praying for this family as they lead the ministry at New Hope.
I’m continuing to work with the LBA and search team at Level 13 in Fort Wayne and will meet this coming Thursday evening with the LBA at Chesterfield Parkview Wesleyan Church as they move forward in their pastoral search.
Our sympathies and prayers are extended to Pastor Joe Park on the death of his father, Joseph Park, who passed away on August 24. For many years before his retirement in 1996, Mr. Park worked as a printer for Wesley Press. Visitation will be at Evergreen Wesleyan Church in Lafayette on Tuesday evening from 5 to 8, and for one hour before the funeral there at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
We challenged our pastors to schedule one more baptism service this year than last year. I was delighted to receive the following report from Pastor Steve Runyon:
“I planned a baptism liked you challenged us to do last fall (or winter). When I told you about it, you asked me to send some pictures when we had the baptism. Please find attached pictures of the 5 we baptized on Saturday. The Lord blessed us with a fantastic day for a baptism and church picnic. There were over 50 people who attended. We were all blessed.”
Just to better understand the context, Beaver Creek Wesleyan had only baptized 5 new believers in the last 10 years and none in the past 2 years. Praise God for changed lives!
The Madison County Zone senior pastors will be meeting at our home on September 8, from 6 to 9 p.m. Before the conference year is over, Sherry and I look forward to welcoming the senior pastors from every zone for a time of food, fellowship, and encouragement. Your zone chair will have the dates and we’d love to have you join us!
Keep on making a difference in the only cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
I’m writing today from New Brunswick, Canada. Yesterday, I worshiped at Moncton Wesleyan Church where Joel Gorveatte, my brother, is the senior pastor. This is the church where my father’s faith was nurtured as a teenager when he answered the call to preach. It’s remarkable to be here now and see how God is already blessing the ministry of my brother in this historic congregation.
The primary reason for this quick trip to Canada was to join my family on Saturday to celebrate the marriage of my father, Dr. Ken Gorveatte, to Mrs. Merle Stevens. Many of you will know that my mother passed away last year before Christmas. While we all miss Mom, we are so pleased that God brought Dad & Merle together for this next chapter of their lives. My sisters and I will be flying home on Tuesday.
Last week began with our district staff meeting on Monday morning. We’re grateful that Seth Bye has joined our team. He will primarily be coordinating scheduling and special events. Monday evening, I met with a personnel committee from a church in Region 1.
Tuesday morning, I participated in our district multiplication team meeting led by Rev. Jon Wiest and held at The Branch in Fairmount. It’s exciting to see how God is bringing together a terrific team with a variety of strengths to lead this movement. This is one team that is never boring as we lean into the opportunities that God has placed before us. And yes, we also shared a few laughs!
Tuesday evening, Sherry and I were in Muncie to host the Hewitt family for supper as they settle into their new assignment. The children are adjusting to their new community and their new schools. Please continue to pray for Pastor Mike and Kim as they begin making connections and building the team to launch a new disciple-making movement in Muncie.
Rev. Chris Williams and I met with Rev. Amanda Blair, director of our district church fitness team. She is leading the team in preparing for our district-wide leadership development day next April. She and Pastor Johnnie Blair continue to lead the turnaround at Tipton Trinity and serve other churches in the process.
Wednesday evening and Thursday evening I attended the Old Time Camp Meeting at Fairmount Camp. Rev. Williams, our Assistant DS, brought challenging messages from Hebrews 11 on what it means to be people of faith. Chris is a gifted and anointed communicator! Rev. Bob Van Cise did a great job hosting the services and Angela Spangler’s team provided wonderful hospitality for the campers.
Thursday included meetings with Dr. David Wright, president of Indiana Wesleyan University, and later with Douglas Bradburn, a new Christian counselor who is working with churches in the New Castle area.
I love how so many of our churches find creative ways to connect with their community. Harvest Church in McCordsville created an event called “Touch a Truck” that’s connected them with dozens of families with young children. Pastor Brad LeRoy is still in recovery from surgery but was back on the platform for this special weekend.
Pastor Marc and Heather Ulrich’s team at Merrillville ReThink Church handed out over 1000 donut holes to parents waiting in the “drop off line” at their neighborhood school. Then, on Saturday night, they welcomed 130 people for the Vision Night put on by their Leadership Academy (a team of emerging leaders that they’ve been mentoring).
People with passion for a vision will do whatever it takes, short of sin, to build bridges with people who don’t yet have a relationship with Christ!
Keep on shining bright in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping at Wabash New Journey Church yesterday morning with Pastor Brian Scramlin. Many of you know the story of Pastor Tom & Sarah Cochran stepping out in faith more than seven years ago to launch this ministry before accepting their current role at Chesterton Expansion Church. Pastor Brian and Jessica came back to Indiana after serving on staff in Spooner, Wisconsin.
The church meets in a former public school building that provides a welcoming space for the congregation and their neighborhood. After the service, Sherry and I shared lunch with the Scramlins along with Megan Cox (Youth Pastor) and Matt, her husband. The staff families are all graduates of IWU and several other IWU staff and alumni are part of this exciting congregation.
I joined with 200+ participants at College Wesleyan Church to enjoy this year’s Global Leadership Summit. The event featured outstanding speakers and creative elements to challenge us to take our leadership to the next level. Special thanks to Rev. Chris Williams, Site Coordinator, and the team at College Wesleyan who did a terrific job hosting the event. There was a strong representation this year from IWU administrators and faculty. For the top 50 quotes from this year’s speakers (like this nugget “Most organizations fail for reasons everyone is aware of but no one says.” or this one, “Of course talent counts, but effort counts twice.”), check out the list at: http://churchleaders.com/news/308247-top-50-quotes-global-leadership-summit-2017.html
For video highlights, check out this site: https://vimeo.com/229426137/c8fa48c4b2
Next year’s event is scheduled for August 9 and 10. You can find registration information (and an early bird discount) at this website: https://www.willowcreek.com/events/leadership/
We’re excited to welcome Rev. Mike & Kim Hewitt who landed in Muncie this past week and are settling in to build a launch team for our first church plant in Muncie in nearly 50 years. They need your prayer support for this vital first phase. They would also welcome your help in connecting with any unchurched friends, relatives or co-workers in the Muncie area. Pastor Mike would welcome your email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re looking forward to hearing more reports about the baptism services at our churches since the challenge at district conference to schedule at least one more. Dr. Ollie Dongell called last week to let me know that 43 people publicly professed their faith in Christ through baptism this month at Plymouth Wesleyan Church.
Many of you have already received Dr. Schmidt’s excellent statement on the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. If not, I encourage you to read and share this post as you express your own condemnation of the bigotry and violence:
Don’t be silent, but don’t stop with words. The Gospel begins with reconciliation with God but results in reconciliation between all, regardless of the color of our skin. Pray and work toward that reconciliation. One timely step would be to participate in the upcoming Christian Community Development Association annual meeting in Detroit:
I am pleased to announce that Seth Bye has joined our district office team. He will work directly with Chris and me in scheduling, communications and event planning. Seth’s home church is Brookhaven Wesleyan and he most recently served on staff at Waterline Church. We’re excited to have him join the team and you’ll enjoy working with Seth!
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. If you’re in the area, don’t miss Rev. Chris Williams preaching this week at Fairmount Camp’s Old Time Camp Meeting!